The sixteen year-old aspiring model Jesse arrives in Los Angeles expecting to be a successful model. The aspirant photographer Dean takes photos for her portfolio and dates her. Jesse befriends the lesbian makeup artist Ruby and then the envious models Gigi and Sarah in a party. Meanwhile, the agency considers Jesse beautiful with a "thing" that makes her different and she is sent to the professional photographer Jack. Jesse attracts the attention of the industry and experiences a successful beginning of her career. Ruby, Gigi and Sarah, however, will do whatever is necessary to get this "thing" for themselves.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The theatrical R-rated version and unrated version are different only in the second morgue scene as follows: (A) Female genital nudity is depicted 1 hour 29 minutes and 0 seconds into the film. In the R rated version (which played in US theaters), when Ruby was kissing the corpse (played by a female actress), the bottom of the frame showed the upper half of the vulva (inclusive of somewhat blurred labia, due to the camera focus on the kissing). In the "unrated" version (NOT the theatrical version or the director's narrative - which both emulate the R rated version seen in US theaters), that same moment depicts VERY clear labial exposure (as in medical clarity, yet artistically depicted). (B) Note that the unrated version also shows Ruby's hand brush along the genitalia as it sweeps up to the left breast (R rated version prolongs the cut-away to the Jessie fantasy shot), and also depicts Ruby bouncing on the corpse as she reaches orgasm (while the R rated version shows only the close up of her face). The foley work and soundtrack during the unrated morgue scene are subtly but noticeably different. In short, the unrated cut sounds a lot more "squishy" with ample "smacking" sounds. The uncut version appears to be available through iTunes only, despite being an Amazon production,which you can find here: https://itunes.apple.com/mt/movie/the-neon-demon/id1129719992 (That means if you want to watch it on a TV you'll need an AppleTV to play it). See more »
One of the strangest movies I've ever seen - and I'm okay with that!
Going into this film, I didn't truly know what to expect. All I knew was that the promotional images really captured my attention, due to the pretty colors, with up-and-coming actress, Elle Fanning in the center. A "nymphet" Tumblr blog I follow also re-blogged images from this. It's some kind of horror (I read the sex/nudity descriptions in the parental guidance section here prior to viewing) that has very mixed reviews.
Much of the the first two acts is relatively slow and realistic. It's got great visuals, despite two scenes with annoying flashing lights. The trip-hop soundtrack by Cliff Martinez is also ear-catching. But, boy, was I not expecting such a final act! Thinking back on it, there's a decent amount of foreshadowing leading up to it. As the track titled, "Are We Having a Party" played over, my eyes were widened as I realized what had happened to Jesse (Fanning). In spite of its disturbing aspects (notably, a scene involving necrophilia), I ended up really liking The Neon Demon. I appreciate how it chose to make audiences uncomfortable rather than the usual "lesbianism is hot~" excuse (ie Birdman). There are critics who hate and/or have called this misogynistic, and I can completely understand why; but that doesn't wane my enjoyment of it.
On the official movie discussion on Reddit, users have called this "David Lynch meets Black Swan," which I also happen to agree with.
It was great to see Abbey Kershaw on-screen again after her debut in Mad Max: Fury Road - also kind of funny her playing an aspiring model, considering she already works as one in real-life; can't wait to see what else she and Fanning have to offer in future projects!
Learning that the director, Nicholas Refn, was born colorblind is very surprising, since his movies are so awashed with vivid colors. I'm planning on watching Only God Forgives and Drive next (the latter generally being considered his best work).
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